MIL Getting back from deployment- if you have the time, something my father wrote

Discussion in 'On Topic' started by kawasakizx6rrrr, May 12, 2008.

  1. kawasakizx6rrrr

    kawasakizx6rrrr New Member

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    some poetic license, but it is pretty interesting. my dad wrote this when we got back from ramadi. just a homecoming from a parents perspective:




    It's Sunday, May 20, 2007 and the sun is shining, the surf is rolling into the beach and I'm sitting in a fabulous beach house by the ocean in Emerald Isle, North Carolina. Yesterday was a magical day…THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN!! 1/6 Marines Weapons and Charlie Companies arrived home after 9 months in Ramadi, Iraq. Our son, Cpl Paul ******** arrived home with his company…Weapons Company…it was a day of high emotions!

    The day started as all homecomings do with anticipation…will they arrive, how will I react, how will they look, what should we expect? Originally the boys were scheduled to come in around 7-8 AM but, last minute, plans changed…as they always do with the military…and the arrival got put off to around 5-6 PM! Good news and bad news…the bad news was that we would have to wait that much longer. The good news was that the delay allowed my daughter, J, and me the opportunity to Run for the Warriors. This was a road race to raise money for the Wounded Warriors…it was a truly awe-inspiring event with numerous Wounded Warriors participating…some running on prostheses (kind of a spring-like artificial leg that allowed them to trot along the course) and some in wheelchairs specially fitted for racing. We got there for 7 AM with race time slated for 8:30…turns out the race was also being run in Taqqadum, Iraq at the sprawling Air Force Base in 105 degree heat and in Virginia, too…and the opening ceremonies honored the wounded. J did the 10 K race…a personal best for her. I did the 5 K race…a struggle with a gimpy knee but, really no big deal, especially seeing all the courageous guys running with a prosthesis (one guy said , as I passed him, “show off!!”) After the race we went back to the hotel, showered, packed up and headed back to the base.

    We got there around 1:30 PM for the anticipated arrival, as I mentioned, around 5-6. There were already hundreds of family members, all very animated, with music blaring from a DJ and a cookout going, snacks, and drinks and banners everywhere. There were Marines manning the grill and doing most of the hosting! (J said, “Dad why are those Marines cleaning up the trash?” “J, that's what Marines do…everything they are told!”) So, we saw many old faces and met many new. Talking to people who have shared a common trial is an interesting experience. Stories abounded and many were heart wrenching and most were uplifting…mostly people helping people get through the agony of a deployed loved one spending nine months in Iraq!! The banners were a mixed bag of “Welcome Home…” “We're so proud!” and the like. One stood out…a black banner with twelve names…names of the twelve brave Marines of 1/6 who gave their all for their country and fellow Marines during the nine months…twelve Fallen Warriors…twelve Hero Angels.

    We got word that Charlie Company had landed at Cherry Point and word spread that they would need about 3 hours from “Touchdown to kisses!” Ok…we can deal with that. Next we heard that they were on the way to Camp Lejeune…then we heard that Weapons Company touched down…and so forth. 2 became 3 became 4 and so forth until around 4:45 or so when Charlie pulled up in their busses with the DJ playing The Boys are Back in Town and the place going nuts!! Hugs, kisses, tears and just a huge sigh of relief to finally hold loved ones who spent the last nine months in hell. For us “weapons folk” it was tough seeing all this merrymaking and having to wait that much longer. But around 6 pm or so (to be honest, one lost track of all time) the Weapons busses pulled in…we were holding up the signs we made and were frantically looking for him…

    As last time, Paul saw us before we saw him and he got us from behind…he looked magnificent in his cammies…tired, stubble of a beard…but…IT WAS REALLY HIM! Words can not describe the joy that we felt. He was happy too but a bit numb from the trip (Kuwait to Ireland…where they did a little too much drinking at Shannon Airport at duty free…to North Carolina). “Dad, I have to shave right now…we have formation…and I have to get rid of this stubble!” Tells you a lot about who these Marines are!

    We spent about an hour and a half talking, unpacking, talking to others…we met Jimmy, Nick, Doc (finally), Sgt, Jeremy, Mike and a whole bunch of other guys who had just spent the last ¾ year of their lives looking out for one another…a true team…a team that was playing for keeps. You could see the bond. So, since we had rented a large beach house at Emerald Isle, I told Paul to invite some of his guys out to the beach…guys with no welcoming family members. Mitch, who lost his father during the deployment and had been home for the last four months or so, Mike and Nick came with us along with Ryan and Carrie. Ryan was with Paul during the first deployment to Fallujah but has been out on a medical discharge due to ruptured discs and arthritis in his cervical and lumbar spine. He is in constant pain and is seeing specialists in Boston…he's from Weymouth! Carrie is a Marine, too…she is the girlfriend of Nathan who was killed in action in Ramadi last October at the beginning of the deployment. She was in boot camp when she got the word about Nathan and she wanted to be there to see his friends when Weapons arrived home. So we all came out to Emerald Isle…after stopping at Taco Bell (“It's a tradition…we do it after every time we get home.” Note that there was only one other deployment for all of them!!) And then we stopped for food and beer…lots of beer…and finally made our way to the beach. This place is huge…plenty of beds for everyone…and it's right on the Atlantic Ocean. Four levels, five bedrooms, a private pool and hot tub and magnificent views. We played a little ping pong…drank a lot of beer and around midnight or so, the guys just sat around and started talking and telling stories…

    The stories were all animated and in the telling you could feel the gamut of emotions behind each story…stories told in a humorous way…but stories of constant danger. Since Ryan was not on this deployment, many of the stories were told to him and were compared to prior situations when he was with them. “You remember when we…” stories. And “that was nothing…we did this…” stories. “In Ramadi, we could actually see the faces of the guys shooting at us.” And “Fallujah was nothing compared to Ramadi!” But there was one constant in all the story telling: these guys were under constant fire, day in and day out, and there was no let up anywhere, anytime until they got out of there. Stray rounds flying through their hooch (the place where they slept), mortars raining in on their base, RPGs fired point blank at them, driving through the gauntlet where, on either side of the road, al-Qaeda was firing small arms at them and the road was filled with water so that they could not see the IEDs…picture Black Hawk Down type alleys, rounds flying everywhere with the added threat of being blown up at any time. Paul told one story of actually seeing the RPG fired at him. (An RPG is a rocket propelled grenade that is fired by a man and comes at high speed to blow up its target.) Paul was in the turret as usual, and saw the RPG fired…everything went into slow motion…as it sped towards him, looking like a softball at high speed, he couldn't get the words out (“Oh shit!!”) and then it hit the side of his truck. Higgie, sitting on the side where it hit, was propelled back by the blast and as he landed partly on Paul, yelled “I'm hit, I'm hit!” Paul in turn yelled “Higgie's hit, Higgie's hit!” and tried to return fire. Turns out that Higgie was not hit and it was a miracle no one was hurt that badly in that attack! Then Mitch told of hearing an RPG fired and instinctively hitting the brakes of the truck and seeing the rocket fly across his windshield from one side of the street to the other!! The smoke filled the truck. Had he not hit the brakes, Paul would have been hit squarely in the turret by the RPG! Nick talked about similar events and both Nick and Paul talked about their machine guns jamming at crucial moments in battle. Paul told of sitting in his hooch playing a video game when stray rounds landed between him and his buddy! Turns out the rounds were from an Iraqi army guy shooting at an Iraqi police guy over an argument they were having…down the road a ways!! The stories went on and on…each one ending with a “Whoa…that was a close one!” and a sigh of relief.

    The guys stayed up talking late into the night…and then they all crashed…first night home.

    This morning, Ro got up around 7 and found Paul sitting, just sitting in the living room…staring…at nothing in particular. “What are you doing up, Paulie?” “We always get up at 5:30,” he said. Later, the guys straggled out of bed and slowly started talking again…mostly about all the things they hated over there. As they wolfed down some bacon and eggs, Mike said he was working on a list of reasons why not to re-enlist in the Corps. He said his list was up over 130 reasons! “I'm gonna publish that list and have book signings in the mall in Jacksonville some day!” Paul mused, “Two pumps (combat tours) in Iraq and I'm still not legal to drink! Is that messed up or what?” A few of them will be getting the NAM (Navy Achievement Medal) for things they did over there. Paul said it was a joke, in some ways. He said that he might get one “for just doing my job.” He also added that, in his opinion, Mitch deserved his NAM since he dragged his wounded buddy to safety as mortar rounds rained down on them.

    Later in the morning, the guys walked down to the beach and just milled around there, talking to one another. Reading the body language, it's clear that they will need some time to adjust to life…no longer in the combat theatre. Although they don't quite see it, it's going to take a lot of time…a lot of healing…for these guys.

    And that may be harder than looking an RPG in the eye. -GS
     
  2. thekinggovernor

    thekinggovernor OT Supporter

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    without a doubt the best day of my life, I can remember everything so clearly.
     
  3. Ranger-AO

    Ranger-AO I'm here for the Taliban party. Moderator

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    Very cool. :hs:
     
  4. EBK

    EBK Hate hippies & hadjis

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    hey Bro if i was at ur welcome home ceremony I wouldve dropped my towel
     
  5. smartypants

    smartypants New Member

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    Great story.
    Pop sounds like a cool guy.
     
  6. TRN

    TRN Well-Known Member

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    :cool:

    I started my "why I won't re-enlist" about two years ago.

    I plan on giving it to my CO when I speak to him.
     
  7. thekinggovernor

    thekinggovernor OT Supporter

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    do you think he will really care?
     
  8. RoblesGT

    RoblesGT [Track Days: 19 ][Crashes: 1] [SuMo Days: 1 ][Cras OT Supporter

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    I wish my welcome home was that awesome ... we just grabbed our bags and got issued linen for the barracks we were staying in Lejeune .. .:o
     
  9. kawasakizx6rrrr

    kawasakizx6rrrr New Member

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    yeah, he's a cool dude
     

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